NCAA basketball

Forget about Opening Day of the baseball season this week. How about Closing Nights of the college basketball season? If you did not stay up to watch the end of North Carolina-Villanova game for the men’s NCAA Division I Championship Monday night, you missed a gem of a game and a finish that nobody, and I mean nobody, could have imagined.

An instant classic. A game for the ages. The most fantastic finish of any game in any sport. Ever.

That’s what you missed.


Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great stories in all of college basketball.

This year’s edition of the hoop Friars are once again in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year under coach Ed Cooley, a Providence native.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

Even though they are illegal, it’s the season of March Madness and gambling pools.

Now, an East Providence state representative wants to make those bracket basketball bets legal in Rhode Island.

Rep. Gregg Amore, a Democrat, has introduced a bill to make `social gaming’ in private residences, taverns and private clubs legal, so long is there is a `social relationship’ among bettors and no person other than bettors receive anything of value.

Providence College is going to the NCAA basketball tournament for the third consecutive year. That’s the good news.

The eighth-seeded Friars (23-10) will play ninth-seeded Southern California (21-12) in the first round of the East Regional Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C. If they win, they will most likely face top-seeded North Carolina (28-6) in the second round. That’s the bad news. The Tar Heels will be heavy favorites in their opener against the Florida Gulf Coast-Fairleigh Dickinson play-in winner.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, John Gibbons, executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, visits the program to discuss what it takes to bring college hoops to the Ocean State and the economic impact.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

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Providence College

Marvin Barnes, who rose from the gritty neighborhood of South Providence to the NCAA Final Four on the legendary 1973 Providence College basketball team and later had a promising career in professional basketball that  was cut short by drug addiction and scrapes with the law, has died. He was 62.

Barnes death was first reported by ProJo sports writer Kevin McNamara, who wrote that he got the news from Barnes old friend and teammate, Kevin Stacom. He died at his Providence home.

Upsets this time of year have become the norm for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. The hoop experts fall over each other to predict which underdog teams will knock off the favorites.

This year, a trendy pick has become the Providence College team which faces the University of North Carolina tomorrow evening in San Antonio. UNC is seeded at 6 and plays in the very tough Atlantic Coast Conference. PC is an 11 seed.

The Providence College basketball team hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 10 years. The University of North Carolina hoop team has won two national championships in that decade.

PC coach Ed Cooley has never been to the NCAA’s as a head coach. Roy Williams, the coach of UNC, will be coaching his 84th NCAA post-season game. Williams, who coached perennial national power Kansas before moving to UNC, has been to 24 NCAA tourneys as a head coach. His NCAA record is 62-21.

Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great story lines in all of college sports, a New England version of the cinematic Hoosiers.

This tale flat-lined for too many years. But make no mistake: the Friars are back to the future, playing a marquee game tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the PC hoop legend really began all those years ago, in the early 1960s, with the National Invitational Tournament, when that post-season playoff at the Garden overshadowed the NCAA’s tournament.

The excitement in these parts around Providence College basketball is back, arguably for the first time since the late 1990s. The Friar hoopsters are in the Big East semi-finals for the first time since 1997 by virtue of yesterday’s 79-74 win over St. John’s.

PC was able to withstand a furious run at the end by St. John’s to win on what is virtually the St. John’s home court at Madison Square Garden. This has been a remarkable team coached by Ed Cooley that has overcome all sorts of obstacles, including the loss of crucial players and injuries.

The Providence College basketball team, in their biggest win of the season, have defeated St. Johns's in the Big East tournament at the Madison Square Garden. The victory sets up a showdown tomorrow in the Big East against Seton Hall, which won an in an upset over Villanova. If the Friars defeat Seton Hall, they will very likely be headed to the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time in years.